Author: Anthony Robinson

Anthony was a sales engineer, now retired and living in North Yorkshire after a long career representing several European manufacturers in the UK. Seeing first hand how continental companies work and how they strive to become world-class businesses makes him fear for Britain's post-Brexit future. He is interested in politics, although not as an active party member, and enjoys reading, gardening and DIY.

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EU banking watchdog tells British banks: Check, Change and Come – to Europe

Anthony Robinson

As the British government launches its advertising campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period, with the inevitable three-word slogan “Check – Change – Go”, the European Banking Authority (EBA) had a message of its own to Britain’s financial institutions. In a lengthy and uncompromising statement published yesterday on its […]

The truth: bending it like Boris

Anthony Robinson

Johnson has been rapped over the knuckles by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) for repeatedly quoting erroneous and misleading figures on child poverty. The OSR is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority watchdog, and they were responding to a complaint from the End Child Poverty Coalition (ECPC). The story is all over […]

Government to create “single source of truth” for border data

Anthony Robinson

Just a week after publishing the Border Operating Model describing how Britain’s borders will operate from 1 January next year, we learn it’s really only a stop-gap measure after the government launched a consultation on creating “the world’s most effective border” in the next five years. Not content with erecting conventional barriers to trade with […]

Reuters: “Barnier confident Brexit deal with Britain possible”

Anthony Robinson

Reuters reported within the last half hour that sources in Brussels are claiming Michel Barnier, in a closed-door meeting with national envoys this morning, “expressed confidence” that a deal between the UK and the EU can be agreed. Barnier’s comments are said to be in sharp contrast to the most recent downbeat assessments that he […]

The Irish Sea border: Brexit’s own iceberg

Anthony Robinson

Northern Ireland was barely mentioned during the referendum, but since 2016 it has consistently proved the most insoluble problem. Theresa May’s plan to resolve it by keeping the whole United Kingdom in the customs union eventually proved her undoing. Johnson’s answer, to erect a border down the Irish Sea, could soon be his. Northern Ireland […]

Government’s £400m purchase of bankrupt OneWeb looks doomed to fail

Anthony Robinson

There is growing curiosity and another potential scandal surrounding the government’s £400m purchase of the bankrupt satellite company OneWeb. Dominic Cummings believes that in the UK we need something like the US DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) where the government pumps money into blue skies projects in the hope of getting a lead in […]

Britain to develop world-beating circumlocution industry

Anthony Robinson

Charles Dickens invented the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit, a fictional government paper-shuffling department which never achieved anything but, “in the spirit of national efficiency” gradually led to it having “something to do with everything”. Dickens talked of people “who in slow lapse of time and agony” became lost inside it. It appears from the […]

Is the penny finally dropping at The Telegraph?

Anthony Robinson

Last Saturday, The Telegraph carried a report about British international haulage companies facing disaster without a trade agreement at the end of the year: Three quarters of hauliers face loss of permits in no-deal Brexit. This was a reference to the EU’s notice published on 9 July about the coming changes once the transition period […]

UK single market white paper: “irony so bitter it makes your eyes bleed”

Anthony Robinson

Only a government as intellectually incoherent as this one could publish in the same week two important documents with absolutely no consistent philosophy underpinning the policy objectives behind them. Worse, the objectives themselves seem diametrically opposed. On Monday, we got the border operating model setting out all the new barriers to trade the government intends to […]

OBR forecasts government borrowing to hit £385bn this year

Anthony Robinson
bank blur business buy

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) released its latest fiscal sustainability report for July 2020 yesterday. The report was finalised before the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced yet more spending measures, so the figures were out of date even before the report saw the light of day. The OBR was set to forecast that government […]

Gove’s new border plan: the longest suicide note in history?

Anthony Robinson

The long awaited border operating model was published yesterday to coincide with Michael Gove’s statement in the House of Commons. It sets out in gruesome detail how the import and export of goods to and from the EU will take place from 1 January 2021. At 206 pages it’s far longer that Labour’s 1983 manifesto […]

National Audit Office to investigate £15bn spend on PPE

Anthony Robinson

There is a growing sense of disbelief at the revelation by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week that the government has approved £15bn in 2020 for PPE to protect frontline staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Nobody begrudges health workers being provided with the right PPE to keep them and the patients they are treating safe of […]

EU launches its own shock and awe campaign early

Anthony Robinson

For some weeks the British government has been planning a “shock and awe” campaign to warn British businesses that they have less than six months to prepare for Brexit; but the EU has beaten them to it.  As the latest round of talks on the future relationship finished in London yesterday, with Barnier tweeting there […]

PPE procurement: the government responds to legal action

Anthony Robinson
woman in yellow protective suit wearing white face mask

The government has hit back against Jolyon Maugham’s pre-action protocol letters issued in June against Health Secretary Matt Hancock concerning multi-million pound contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) awarded to Pest Fix Ltd of Littlehampton and Clandeboye Agencies Ltd, a chocolate wholesaler in Antrim. Maugham challenged their lawfulness on the grounds that there was no […]

Supplying PPE: the new Klondike?

Anthony Robinson

After revealing two extraordinary £108m contracts placed by the government for personal protective equipment (PPE) with companies that have no apparent experience or history of supplying such items, Jolyon Maugham QC seems to have uncovered two more. Providing PPE is becoming the new Klondike and the scandal appears to be getting dangerously close to the […]

Cummings is starting to make the ERG nervous

Anthony Robinson

The letter that Mark Francois sent to Michel Barnier on Friday (see below) looks like a spoof but turns out to be genuine – though it’s difficult to read and keep a straight face at the same time. He describes it as “a missive from a free country.” It was sent just four days before […]

Four years on: the ignorance and the idiocy

Anthony Robinson

Last week’s virtual session of the future relationship select committee has sparked quite a lot of comment after it was revealed that Britain lacked a system or even a plan to handle trucks arriving at Dover. The amazing revelation came from Tim Reardon, head of EU exit at the port of Dover. He told Barry […]

Johnson begs public to set an example for Cummings

Anthony Robinson

In what can only be described as a bizarre reversal of leadership, Boris Johnson this week essentially called on the British people to set an example to his most senior adviser Dominic Cummings on how to properly observe government guidance. He told reporters that it was crucial we “get this right” and appealed to the […]

US healthcare: “Profit-driven corporate model is failing”

Anthony Robinson

A former vice-president of Cigna, an American health insurance company based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, has launched a stinging attack on the US private healthcare system, comparing its dire performance during the pandemic with that of Canada’s mainly publicly funded and universally available arrangements known as Medicare. Using Twitter, Wendell Potter has admitted that his company previously […]

Barnier complains UK is “backtracking” as no deal warnings mount

Anthony Robinson

Michel Barnier gave an interview yesterday to the European Policy Centre (EPC), a Brussels-based think tank, which has Herman Von Rompuy as its president. Some commentators seemed to think Barnier hinted at more flexibility on fishing so it may be that some progress is being made on the substantive matters. The whole 55 minute interview […]

Is York’s chocolate industry under threat from Brexit?

Anthony Robinson

The Food and Drink Federation is the latest to come up with a have-cake-and-eat-it plan, this time on rules of origin. They want the EU to change things for this former member, in order to help maintain trade so that British and EU customers can enjoy the same choice and quality as before, as if […]

EU parliament: no deal is better than a bad deal

Anthony Robinson

This week the EU parliament debated and voted on a motion approving a 137-page report setting out their “Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. The vote took place yesterday and the motion was given what the EU are calling “unwavering support”, with 572 […]

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